Earlier today we mentioned the role of social media in distributing news of tragic deaths, including those of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett today. The LA Times, we noted, is frequently being cited as a source of the Jackson news, and yet the blog TMZ.com appears to have confirmed the story much earlier.
Meanwhile, opportunists sprung upon the news to spread false rumors of other celebrity deaths, a situation that could once again give fuel to the argument that social media is not trustworthy.
One blogger doing unprecedented damage to the social media cause (and in fact undermining the credibility of all bloggers) is Perez Hilton: upon learning of Michael Jackson’s hospital admission, he posted the following, shockingly offensive piece, alleging that Michael was “lying” or “making himself sick”. The post has now been updated on his site to temper this gross insensitivity, but we fear the damage to the blogging community has already been done.